"Beat autoimmune. The 6 keys to reverse your condition and reclaim your health" - book notes, part 6

Balance your hormones (p. 217)

It is easier to fix your hormones than to live with the misery of imbalance

Key players: (p. 223)

  • estrogen - the “pro-fat” hormone. Estrogen is actually a trio of hormones under the umbrella called estrogen: estrone, estradiol, estriol. Estrogen is responsible for developing of breasts, hips, and menstrual periods. Both men and women produce estrogen, although women produce much more - at least until menopause, when levels drop dramatically. Estrogen helps keep your heart, bones, skin, and brain healthy and your cortisol and thyroid hormones in check. When estrogen is balanced, ir promotes serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps keep you content and sleeping well.

    Common symptoms of estrogen dominance in women: (p. 231)

    • heavy menstrual bleeding
    • severe menstrual cramps
    • premenstrual breast tenderness
    • premenstrual bloating and puffiness
    • weight gain in hops and butt
    • ovarian cysts
    • endometriosis
    • fibroids
    • migraines
    • miscarriages
    • rosacea
    • insomina
    • brain fog
    • anxiety, panic attacks, or depression
    • decreased libido
    • gallbladder issues or no gallbladder

    Common symptoms of estrogen dominance in men:

    • fatigue
    • loss of muscle mass
    • urinary tract issues
    • reduced libido
    • erectile dysfunction
    • anxiety
    • depression
    • increased belly fat
    • enlarged breasts
  • progesterone - the “protective hormone”. Made by both men and women, progesterone is the calming counterbalance to stimulating estrogen. It has also been called the “protective hormone”, because it is essential for creating and maintaining pregnancy, protecting the developing baby from stress, and may also be protective against cancer. High levels of progesterone during pregnancy also puts many autoimmune diseases, like MS, into remission. Progesterone is found in high concentrations in our brains, where it exerts a calming, sedative effect. In optimal levels, it helps with sleep, bone building, and libido, and you feel contentment and sense of equilibrium.

  • testosterone - the “assertive hormone”. Testosterone is considered a male hormone, but women make it, too, just in much smaller amounts. Testosterone builds tissue, like muscles, bones, and the heart. It is responsible for your zest for life and sex drive. At optimal levels, testosterone decreases body fat, improves muscle strength, and enhances memory, motivation, and cognitive function. Testosterone naturally declines with age, but insulin resistance, elevated cortisol, and excess estrogen - due to chronic inflammation, belly fat and/or toxic chemicals - hasten testosterone’s decline.

  • thyroid - the “energy hormone”. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that has a huge role in your body. It is your master metabolic regulator, responsible for regulating your breathing, body temperature, heart rate, energy level, and weight. Every single cell in your body has thyroid receptors, and if your thyroid is not functioning optimally, you will not be functioning optimally. At least, not for long. When your thyroid is working well, your body temperature will feel just right, your metabolism will be revving, your energy levels will be good, and your hair will be growing.

    Typical triggers of Hashimoto’s: (p. 233)

    • gluten sensitivity (celiac disease)
    • nutritional deficiencies including iodine, zinc, and selenium, which are needed for that T3 conversion
    • environmental toxins including fluoride, bromine, and mercury
    • chronic stress and adrenal dysfunction
    • viral infections including Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Yersinia enterocolitia

    Common signs of low thyroid: (p. 233)

    • weight gain
    • weight loss resistance
    • hair loss, including the outer third of your eyebrows
    • poor concentration
    • brain fog
    • constipation
    • feeling tired on waking
    • cold intolerance or sensitivity to cold
    • depression or anxiety
    • joint aches and pain
    • dry skin, hair, or brittle nails
  • cortisol - the “stress hormone”. Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” for good reason. It has many functions, but its most important job is to increase blood sugar and blood pressure to get blood to your extremities, so you can fight or flee and survive short-term threats. When balanced and working optimally, cortisol is anti-inflammatory and helps to regulate the immune response. When out of balance due to chronic stress, cortisol has an inflammatory and immune-suppressing effect - consider how you’re more vulnerable to infections when you’re stressed.

    Symptoms of high cortisol: (p.229)

    • feeling tired but wired, edgy, or anxious
    • anxiety
    • palpitations
    • trouble sleeping
    • salt cravings
    • dizziness when you stand up
    • low blood pressure
    • sugar cravings, because your body can’t regulate your blood sugar properly
  • insuling - the “fat fertilizer hormone”. While its main function is to enable your body’s cells to take up glucose for fuel, too much insulin in the bloddstream - caused by eating too much sugar and carbohydrates that quickly turn into sugar - causes your cells to store fat. Too much insulin - a condition called insulin resistence - is actually a state of prediabetes, which is the path to type 2 diabetes. This unnatural, modern condition is a massive risk factor for all other chronic disease, including Alzheimer’s, which is sometimes called type 3 diabetes.

    Symptoms of insulin resistance: (p. 227)

    • fatigue after eating
    • general fatigue
    • craving sweets, especially after meals
    • weight gain in the abdominal area
    • weight loss resistance
  • vitamin D - the “sunshine vitamin”. Vitamin D is actually a potent prohormone because it is produced in the skin in response to exposure to sunlight and converted into the hormonally active form by the liver and kidneys. Vitamin D receptors are found in almost every cell because vitamin D plays numerous roles in multiple bodily functions, including insulin regulation, immune function, and inflammation reduction.

    If you have any of the following, you may be extremely deficient (< 20 ng/ml) of Vitamin D: (p. 235)

    • fatigue
    • general aches and pains
    • weakness
    • frequent infections
    • osteopenia
    • osteoporosis
    • bone pain
    • bone fractures
  • dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) - the “foundational hormone”.The most abundant steroid hormone in the body, DHEA is the precursor hormone to testosterone and estrogen and is essential for tissue-building and repair and supporting healthy immune function. DHEA plays a key role in maintaining hormonal balance and youthful vitality. In normal levels, DHEA supports cognitive function, psychological wellbeing, bone, skin, and heart health, and enhances immunity.

    Common signs of low DHEA: (p. 236)

    • profound fatigue
    • decreased stamina and alertness
    • feeling achy and weak
    • malaise or depression
    • decrease in muscle mass
    • decreased bone density or osteoporosis
    • thinning skin
    • low libido
    • frequent infections
    • dry skin and eyes
    • poor memory
    • difficulty in losing weight

Little-known hormone facts (p. 224)

  • fat cells are the largest endocrine gland in your body
  • testosterone can be converted into estrogen by a process called aromatization
  • “man boobs” and “beer bellies” are telltale signs that men are aromatizing testosterone into fat-promoting estrogen
  • it is not just sugar tha makes you fat. Stress and poor sleep also make you fat
  • all of your sex and adrenal hormones are made from cholesterol
  • when you are chronically stressed, your body preferentially makes the stress hormone cortisol instead of sex hormones. No wonder your libido goes down when you are stressed

AHA (American Heart Association) recommendations on added sugar consumption per day: (p. 227)

  • women: 25g
  • men: 38g
  • children aged 3 to 18: 25g
  • children under 2: no sugar at all

Typical imbalances: (p. 242)

  • high insulin
  • high cortisol
  • estrogen dominance
  • low thyroid
  • low vitamin D
  • low DHEA

Optimal ranges for insulin: (p. 244)

  • fasting serum insulin: <= 3 uIU/mL
  • fasting serum glucose: 70-85 mg/dl or lower
  • hemoglobin A1c (HA1c): < 5.2

Optimal ranges for cortisol (saliva): (p. 245)

  • morning: 3.7 - 9.5 ng/mL
  • noon: 1.2 - 3.0 ng/mL
  • evening: 0.6 - 1.9 ng/mL
  • night: 0.4 - 1.0 ng/mL

Optimal ranges for DHEA: (p. 245)

  • under 30 y.o.: 6.4 - 18.6 ng/ml
  • 31 - 45 y.o.: 3.9 - 11.4 ng/ml
  • 46 - 60 y.o.: 2.7 - 8 ng/ml
  • 61 or odler y.o.: 2 - 6 ng/ml

Optimal ranges for thyroid: (p. 246)

  • TSH: 0.4 - 1.5 mIU/L
  • Free T3: 2.3 - 4.2 pg/mL
  • Free T4: 0.8 - 1.8 ng/dL
  • Reverse T3 (rT3): < 15 ng/dl (also expressed as < 150)
  • Free T3/rT3 ratio: > 2
  • TPO antibodies: < 2 IU/m
  • TG antibodies: < 2IU/m
  • Ferritin: 70 - 90 mg/dl

Optimal ranges for Vitamin D: (p. 246)

  • for general health: 50 - 70 ng/ml
  • for reversing or preventing disease: 70 - 100 ng/ml

Kepp hormones in balance: (p. 247)

  • remove SAD foods
  • reduce alcohol and coffee
  • eat organic vegetables
  • enjoy healthy fats
  • increase your fiber intake
  • heal your gut
  • avoid toxicants
  • get restorative sleep
  • move more
  • get outside
  • pause daily

Advanced considerations: (p. 249)

  • a cyclical ketogenic diet
  • practice intermittent fasting

Try herbs and adaptogens: (p. 250)

  • to lower cortisol

    • adaptogens. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) AKA Indian ginseng. Caution - it is a nightshade.
    • rhodiola (rhodiola rosea). Caution: avoid if you have bipolar disorder
    • phosphatidylserine (PS). Caution: avoid taking it with other blood-thinning supplements
  • to lower insulin

    • berberine. Caution: wait at least 3 hours between doses
    • chromium picolinate. Caution: might making behavioral and psychiatric conditions worse
    • biotin (B7)
  • to lower estrogen

    • diindolylmethane (DIM). Caution: migh cause nausea or headache
    • calcium-d-glucarate (CDG). Caution: may decrease effectiveness of some certain medications
    • vitamin C. Caution: high doses may cause loose stools
  • to support thyroid function

    • selenium
    • iodine. Caution: some people get even worse with iodine, stop taking it if this is your case
    • zinc
  • to raise vitamin D

    • daily sun
    • vitamin D3

Summary: (p. 260)

  • address stress
  • stop eating sugar
  • avoid toxicants
  • know your hormone levels
  • consider bioidentical hormones